“Stacy, your thyroid is essentially dead” was what I heard my doctor say to me December 4, 1999. Since then, there has been many ups and downs (thankfully, more ups than downs). Since I was diagnosed with thyroid disease, more specifically, Hashimoto’s disease, I have learned to have a sense of humor at times, and at other times become very serious about how I take care of this health issue.
If I give any hope at all about living with thyroid disease, the first thing I will say is, it’s not the end of good health. You can still live a full healthy life with medication and possible diet changes. Of course, our thyroid gland is a very important organ; it regulates our metabolism and converts iodine into thyroid hormones. When the thyroid doesn’t work properly, your pituitary gland makes a hormone to stimulate the thyroid. In short, if your thyroid is not functioning, you have a hard time functioning.
Before I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s I was tired, had headaches, gained a lot of weight very easily, dry itchy skin, and just felt tired all the time. My doctor has prescribed several medications for me Armour, (which is a hormone derived from a pig), synthetic hormone like Synthroid, and its generic, Levothyroxine, and it seems as if Synthroid works the best at regulating my thyroid; there is no comparison between generic medication and name brand.
In addition, you may experience times when your blood work indicates a need for an increase in medicine; this is normal at the beginning, and adjustments are a necessary part of tailoring your medication dosage to your body’s specific needs. However, if you ever experience heart palpitations or a pounding heart beat, this may indicate that you are receiving too much medication. Call your physician if you experience any of these symptoms.
Another piece of advice I would like to give others with thyroid disease is try not to be so hard on yourself when it comes to your weight. Depending on how diseased your thyroid becomes, it may be very difficult to lose weight. I have had success managing my weight by drinking a lot of water and avoiding soy products. Moreover, there are a lot of support groups for people, women in particular with thyroid disorders on Spark People, a place to get fit and get support on all kinds of health and weight issues.
Lastly, remember to smile! With proper care for thyroid disease, you can live a full meaningful life with very little restriction. Attitude is key; have a good one!